Weekend full of surprises still a good weekend

So, I’m lying in bed and start to roll over when a cramp grabs my right leg and won’t let go.

Trying to get out of bed without bending my right leg, I anchor my left heel to the side of the mattress and start to sit up. A cramp grabs that leg and holds on.

By now I want to scream, but I can’t scream because it’s midnight and I’m in the guest bedroom of my sister’s home in Springfield, Ill., and the scream I wanted to rip would have shaken the house. So I clenched my jaw to stop the scream and my chin cramped. I wanted to upchuck but I couldn’t open my mouth.

I must have looked like a cartoon, finally out of bed and hunched over, trying to rub my hamstrings with my hands and rub my chin on my chest. I didn’t even know I had hamstrings. Thought only football players had hamstrings to cramp.

Now I know better.

If I hadn’t had so much fun down there, that 15 minutes of torture would have ruined the week.

My sister Barbara turned 60 on Aug. 23 and retired from teaching the same day. The school knew at the end of last year she would retire, so the few days she had to work this year were doing things to help get the year started, like collecting forms and printing copies. On her last day, however, she subbed in a sixth-grade classroom.

Poetic, in a way, since she started her teaching career in a sixth-grade classroom.

Our sister Cindy and her husband Dwight surprised us by coming down for the party Barbara threw. Neither of us had expected them to be there, but Cindy wanted to play, too. And play we did. Even the work was play. Well, the work was baking, and I call it play because Cindy was there to take charge while Barbara taught her last lessons. I tried to help, but we all know what kind of help I’m not in the kitchen.

I wasn’t much help, either, setting up the tables for the party and putting the food out. And now that I’ve said that aloud, I realize they could have done just as much without me. What a horrible thought. A person wants to be helpful when help is needed, for heaven sake.

Oh well. It’s over, and I didn’t hurt anything. Better than not making a problem, I shot pictures. Everybody needs pictures of a retirement birthday party.

On the morning of the sixth day, I leave for home, after a full night’s sleep. Remember, I’m on a normal-person schedule these days. But it was morning, and I do so hate morning. Wasn’t half an hour out of Springfield when I had to pull over for a quick nap. Tucked myself on a country road between corn fields and closed my eyes. Because I planned to rest for just a few minutes, I didn’t even turn off the van’s motor. When I woke an hour later, it still hummed.

So much for that gas.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at